Democratic Congressman Proposes Free Market Royalty Act

Representative Melvin Watt (D – North Carolina) introduced the Free Market Royalty Act this week, which would allow record companies and artists to collect royalties when their songs are played on the radio. The bill would change licensing for broadcast radio and online services, and stations like Pandora would have to negotiate with rights holders. This bill has transformational potential, for while songwriters and music publishers receive compensation on the radio, the artists themselves do not. Continue reading Democratic Congressman Proposes Free Market Royalty Act

DirecTV to Co-Finance Indie Films in Exchange for VOD Rights

DirecTV is entering the world of film financing through a new partnership with startup movie studio A24 Inc. Through the deal with A24, the satellite operator will acquire independent films in exchange for exclusive rights to offer them on DirecTV’s video-on-demand services 30 days before the indies are released theatrically. DirecTV will initially commit $40 million to co-finance and market independent films; the first acquired with A24 is the thriller “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Continue reading DirecTV to Co-Finance Indie Films in Exchange for VOD Rights

Amazon Launches Offline Viewing of Videos on New Kindles

Amazon is launching an offline viewing feature for its Prime Instant Video service on the new line of Kindle devices. The move is an attempt to catch up to Netflix and make the Amazon offering distinct from other subscription video services. Google is planning its own offline video feature for YouTube mobile apps as well. It remains to be seen if offline viewing will be a desired feature in the long term, but Amazon is the first to offer such an option. Continue reading Amazon Launches Offline Viewing of Videos on New Kindles

CBS and Time Warner Cable End Month-Long Contract Dispute

CBS and Time Warner Cable ended their contract dispute yesterday, restoring CBS, Showtime and related channels to cable subscribers in the New York, Los Angeles and Dallas markets. For one month, the two sides had been locked into a debate regarding fees related to rights for retransmitting content. Retaining digital rights in order to sell content to online distributors such as Netflix and Amazon was also an issue. CBS and TWC did not release specific information regarding terms of the agreement. Continue reading CBS and Time Warner Cable End Month-Long Contract Dispute

Google Approaches Media Companies with Streaming TV Pitch

Google is reportedly joining the growing number of technology companies looking to launch online versions of pay TV. According to sources familiar with the matter, Google has been talking with media companies about licensing content for a new streaming Internet TV service. We reported earlier that Intel and Sony are working on similar projects. Apple has also been pitching television licensing deals to media firms in recent years. Continue reading Google Approaches Media Companies with Streaming TV Pitch

Researchers Testing Text-Based DRM System for Ebooks

Researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute are working on a new ebook DRM system called SiDiM that would change individual words of a story in an effort to combat piracy. The system would swap out text to essentially create individualized copies of an ebook that could then be tracked by the original owner. A subsidiary of the German book publisher’s association, interested in possible alternatives to the traditional lock-down approach of DRM, has joined Fraunhofer in its testing. Continue reading Researchers Testing Text-Based DRM System for Ebooks